Blessings Chidakwa Municipal Correspondent
Chitungwiza Municipality workers have gone for almost four years without full salaries, amid allegations that top managers were splashing millions of dollars in unnecessary trips and workshops.
Some of the workers are reportedly owed allowances from as far back as 2008 for their efforts in fighting cholera.
A recent audit revealed that some managers got two annual holiday trips to a regional destination of choice, amid a host of other benefits that do not accrue to ordinary workers.
The Herald understands that those owed salaries for up to 50 months are the least paid staffers, while those raking anything from $30 000 onwards have a backlog of about four months. The Council’s Workers Union president Reverend Ephraim Katsina said the salary backlog disparity between non-managerial staff and top executive raised eyebrows.
“We are in between 45 to 50 months’ salary arrears depending on grade,” he said. “Health workers are owed millions in professional and retention allowances.
“Sewerage and water workers are owed Zinwa allowances and former employees are owed more than $3 million in salary arrears. Grades 1 to 3, which is management, have less salary backlogs of between four to 12 months.”
Acting Chitungwiza town clerk Dr Tonderai Kasu confirmed the salary and allowances backlog, but said the number of months owed was exaggerated and rejected that money was being wasted on useless functions.
Dr Kasu said from January, management approved a salary increase for ordinary employees of 608 percent, while managers were yet to get a salary hike in the last two years.
He said health workers had been paid allowances for working during the first cholera outbreak, while they were trying to address the arrears for the second outbreak.
Cholera broke out in 2008 and in 2018.
“The current management team steered through council and obtained a full council resolution for the re-introduction of professional and retention allowances for health workers after these professional and retention allowances had been withdrawn by a previous management team,” said Dr Kasu.
“This full council (meeting) resolution to re-introduce professional and retention allowances for health workers is being implemented by the current management and is being effected on the pay roll.”
Council has been entering into deeds of settlement with former employees owed money to honour its obligations.